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District 3 candidates prepare for four-way slugfest
by Noreen Cochran
April 22, 2014 11:10 AM | 3039 views | 1 1 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The new District 3 on the Fulton County commission has drawn four Republicans to compete for the seat, a contest to be decided in the May 20 primary as no Democrat qualified for the race.

Lee Morris, 65, a Buckhead resident, works for architects Stevens & Wilkinson. He earned a law degree from Emory University in 1976. Married with three children and three grandchildren, Morris was on the Atlanta City Council from 1994 to 2001 and ran for county chairman in 2006. He said his top three issues are the budget and taxes, jail overcrowding and the tax commissioner’s personal compensation.

“My background as certified public accountant and attorney, and 29-year career as CFO, general counsel and part owner of a 95-year-old business will help control the spending of Fulton’s government,” Morris said.

Alexander Palacios, 49, is a Sandy Springs resident and an entrepreneur. He earned a master of business administration from Georgia Tech in 2001. Married with four children, Palacios is a political newcomer. He said his top three issues are the budget and taxes, commission cooperation and representing his district.

“With my business experience, strong financial background, being an outsider, being able to tackle the difficult issues and knowing that our district has been yearning for representation, I know I can make a difference, a brighter and better future for our residents,” Palacios said.

Cory Ruth, 36, is a Buckhead resident and an entrepreneur. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Oglethorpe University in 2013. Ruth is married with one child. His previous bid for office was a 2010 primary run for the Congressional seat ultimately won by Hank Johnson. Ruth said his top three issues are building consensus on the commission, reducing government and jail overcrowding.

“I am the only candidate with solid relationships on both sides of the aisle, who has credibility with constituents across the county, who can navigate the cultural divides, build consensus and lead change.” Ruth said.

Bernie Tokarz is 24 and a Buckhead resident. He is a consultant for Santa Monica, Calif.-based software company Cornerstone OnDemand and earned a bachelor of science degree in agriculture economics in 2011 from the University of Georgia. Tokarz, single with no children, has not held an elected office. He said his top three issues are lowering taxes, reducing jail overcrowding and city-county collaboration.

“District 3 needs a commissioner who can be ready to find short- and long-term savings on Day One and I am the only candidate with the knowledge and record to be effective immediately,” Tokarz said.

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